Aramacao is a program for creating exposure sheets to help syncing mouth animation to an audio track. Aramacao intended purpose is to help automatizing the process of creating exposure sheets, which can be useful for traditional and digital animation alike.
You can select the audio driver and the soundcard to use in the preferences dialog. If built on a Linux system, Aramacao uses ALSA as the default driver and "default" as the default device.
|OSS cannot use a "default" device, you have to select a device manually.|
If you want to edit the default settings, click on 'Edit→Preferences' to open the preferences dialog. In the Audio page, you can select your preferred driver from a list in a combo box (menu), while you have to manually type your preferred device name, unless you want to use the "default" device.
Device names are dependent on the selected driver. ALSA uses names like hw:0 or hw:1,0, OSS uses the path to the device file e.g. /dev/dsp, while Libao (Xiph.Org Foundation’s audio output library) uses its own configuration files.
To start working with Aramacao you need to open an old project or to create a new one. You can open or create a project using the menu or the toolbar.
A new project
To create a new project click on 'File→New' from the menu, otherwise click on the first icon from the left in the toolbar.
|Icons on the toolbar may look different, depending on the desktop environment or the icon theme used.|
Now you can open the "new project" dialog, which requires to insert some data, like the project title, the author’s name, the scene number etc. Some data is required:
Language: none (phonemes are manually inserted), English, Italian, Spanish
Mouth poses: PB (Preston Blair), EPB (Extended Preston Blair)
FPS: 12, 24, 25, 30
Sound track: an audio file
E.g. type Stephen in the character’s name entry, set English as the language of the project and select 12 frames per second. Download and use the audio file Stephen_fry_voice.flac, hosted on Wikimedia Commons.
|Aramacao can read the following audio file formats: OGG/Vorbis, FLAC, WAV/PCM, WAV/ADPCM, WAV/GSM, WAV/u-law, MP3, AIFF e SUN (au).|
Clicking on the OK button, you create a new project. Now on the main window you can see a representation of the sound wave and a preview of a mouth pose.
|To open an existing project click on 'File→Open' in the menu or click on the second icon from left in the toolbar.|
To add new text to the project, you have just to write something in the text field and then click on the add text button.
E.g. type "Hello, my name is Stephen Fry" in the text field and then click on the first button on the left of the text field.
The new text is shown just below the waveform. The line is shown on a green background, the single words of the line are shown on an orange background and the phonemes forming the single words are shown on a purple background.
Every time you insert some text, this text is added to the existing text as new line. If you typed your text on multiple lines, every line of text is added separately as a new line.
Editing the text
You can edit lines, words and phonemes through the apposite dialogs. If you double click on a line, word or phoneme the relevant dialog pops up.
In the case of lines or words, you can edit the text and select a particular language to automatically generate the apt phonemes (if you select none as a language you have to manually edit the single phonemes). Then click on the OK button.
In the case of phonemes there’s a list of phonemes to choose from.
|You can delete a line or a word by emptying their text in their edit dialog.|
Now you have to synchronize the phonemes to the audio track. You can move lines, words and phonemes along the waveform, clicking on them with the right mouse button and then dragging the mouse pointer. You can resize lines, words or phonemes clicking on them with the left mouse button, on either side, and then draggin the mouse pointer.
|It is not possible to move or resize a word further than its line borders and it is not possible to move or resize a phoneme further than its word borders. So you have first to resize or move the line, then the word, then the phoneme.|
Mouse actions on the waveform
When you move the mouse pointer, the vertical line the marks the end of the frame currently pointed gets darker. The frame number and the time in seconds are shown besides the line.
Left clicking on the waveform, you set the primary bookmark, of green colour. Right clicking on the waveform, you set the secondary bookmark, blue-green. These bookmarks are used when playing the track.
Clicking with the middle button, you select a frame. When a frame is selected, the preview field shows the mouth pose of the phoneme at that frame position, while the status bar shows the mouth pose name, the character’s name, the frame number and its starting time in minutes, seconds and hundredths of seconds.
Playing the track
To do a good work you have to listen to the track again and again. You can use the menu 'Track' and the toolbar to play the track. Both the menu entries and the buttons on the toolbar can perform the following actions:
Play the track
Play the track, starting from the primary bookmark
Play the track, only the portion between the two bookmarks
Play the track, from start to the primary bookmark
While playing, the relevant frame is marked in red, the preview field shows the mouth pose of the phoneme placed on that frame (or the rest position if no phonemes are present at that frame position) and the status bar shows the usual information.
Creating and deleting phonemes
You may need to create or delete phonemes. You can do both actions by double clicking with the right mouse button on the waveform: if you double click on an existing phoneme, it is deleted, if you double click on an empty space below a word, a new phoneme is created.
E.g. the "s" of "is" is effectively linked to the "s" of "Stephen", so, you can delete one of the two "s". Double click with the right mouse button on the second phoneme of the word "is" and delete it.
After a bit of work, moving and resizing, you get something like this:
Saving the project
From the menu, click on 'File→Save' or 'File→Save as', otherwise click on the third button from left in the toolbar.
Exporting the exposure sheets
The purpose of using Aramacao is to create an exposure sheet.
You can review the exposure sheet clicking on the Table label next to the text field. The table shows data for all the frames. Clicking on the Key cell, you mark that frame as a key frame. Double clicking on the Comments cell let you add some comments to the related frame.
|Actions on the table are not recorded by the Undo/Redo system.|
Now you can export the exposure sheet clicking on 'File→Export timetable'. The export dialog let you select the format of the output file.
E.g. if you choose to export the table to a plain text file, you get:
Title: my project Scene: 1A Character: Stephen Author: my name Date: Tue 07 Apr 2015 Frame Time X Mouth Comments ________________________________________________________________________________ 1 | 00:00:00.00| | | 2 | 00:00:00.08| | | 3 | 00:00:00.17| | | 4 | 00:00:00.25| | | 5 | 00:00:00.33| | | 6 | 00:00:00.42|X| etc |Stephen greets us 7 | 00:00:00.50| | AI | 8 | 00:00:00.58| | L | 9 | 00:00:00.67| | O | 10 | 00:00:00.75| | O |
Appendix A: Quick reference
To do :)